bank

1 of 5

noun (1)

1
: a mound, pile, or ridge raised above the surrounding level: such as
a
: a piled-up mass of cloud or fog
a fog bank
a bank of dark clouds
b
: an undersea elevation rising especially from the continental shelf
2
: the rising ground bordering a lake, river, or sea or forming the edge of a cut or hollow
We lived along the banks of the Mississippi River.
3
a
: a steep slope (as of a hill)
climbed a steep bank up to the cabin
b
: the lateral inward tilt of a surface along a curve
The engineers hadn't given the road enough bank.
: the lateral inward tilt of a vehicle (such as an airplane) when turning
The bomber crossed the target area in a sharp bank.
4
: a protective or cushioning rim or piece

bank

2 of 5

verb (1)

banked; banking; banks

transitive verb

1
a
: to build a raised border of earth around : to raise a bank (see bank entry 1 sense 2) about
bank a fishpond
b
: to restrict the flow of air to (a fire) especially by piling ash around or over the burning embers
They banked the campfire at midnight so it could be easily revived in the morning.
c
: to build (a curve) with the roadbed or track inclined laterally upward from the inside edge
2
: to heap or pile in a bank
banking sand up along a river to prevent flooding
3
a
billiards : to drive (a ball) into a cushion
b
sports : to bounce (a ball or shot) off a surface (such as a backboard) into or toward a goal
bank in a rebound
4
: to form or group in a tier

intransitive verb

1
: to rise in or form a bank
often used with up
clouds would bank up about midday, and showers fall William Beebe
2
a
: to incline an airplane laterally
The pilot banked right.
b(1)
: to incline laterally
torpedo planes … darting in to attack, then banking off K. M. Dodson
(2)
: to follow a curve or incline
skiers banking around the turn

bank

3 of 5

noun (2)

1
a
: an establishment for the custody, loan, exchange, or issue of money, for the extension of credit, and for facilitating the transmission of funds
paychecks automatically deposited into the bank
went to the bank to make a withdrawal
open a bank account
b
obsolete : the table, counter, or place of business of a money changer
2
: a person conducting a gambling house or game
specifically : dealer
3
: a supply of something held in reserve: such as
a
in games : the fund of supplies (such as money, chips, or pieces) held by the banker (see banker entry 1 sense 2) or dealer
b
in games : a fund of pieces (such as dominoes) from which the players draw
select another domino from the bank
4
: a place where something is held available
memory banks
especially : a depot for the collection and storage of a biological product
a blood bank

bank

4 of 5

verb (2)

banked; banking; banks

intransitive verb

1
: to manage a bank
2
: to deposit money or have an account in a bank (see bank entry 3 sense 1a)
choosing where to bank

transitive verb

: to deposit or store in a bank
bank a check
Whole blood … could be banked indefinitely … Time

bank

5 of 5

noun (3)

1
: a group or series of objects arranged together in a row or a tier
a bank of vending machines
: such as
a
: a set of elevators
b
: a row or tier of telephones
worked at a phone bank calling potential donors
2
journalism : one of the horizontal and usually secondary or lower divisions of a headline
reading the bank of the headline
Phrases
bank on
: to depend or rely on
can always bank on her friendship

Did you know?

The literal meaning of Italian banca was “bench,” but the word was also used for the benchlike counter at which an early money changer transacted business, and later to describe the money changer’s shop itself—the bank. When the banking trade spread from Italy to France, and then to England, the Italian word went with it and became our English bank.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1) and Verb (1)

Middle English, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse bakki bank; akin to Old English benc bench — more at bench

Noun (2) and Verb (2)

Middle English, from Middle French or Old Italian; Middle French banque, from Old Italian banca, literally, bench, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English benc

Noun (3)

Middle English banc bench, from Anglo-French, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English benc

First Known Use

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

1738, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun (3)

1771, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bank was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near bank

Cite this Entry

“Bank.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bank. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

bank

1 of 5 noun
1
: a mound, pile, or ridge of earth
2
: a piled-up mass of cloud or fog
3
: a rise in the sea bottom
4
: the rising ground at the edge of a lake, river, or sea
5
: a steep slope (as of a hill)
6
: the inward tilt of a surface along a curve or of a vehicle (as an airplane) when turning

bank

2 of 5 verb
1
: to raise a bank around
2
: to cover (as a fire) with fresh fuel to reduce the speed of burning
3
: to build with the foundation of a road or railroad sloping upward from the inside edge
bank a curve
4
: to heap or pile in a bank
5
: to rise in or form a bank
6
: to tilt an airplane sideways when turning

bank

3 of 5 noun
1
: a place of business that lends, exchanges, takes care of, or issues money
2
: a small closed container in which money may be saved
3
: a storage place (as for a reserve supply)
a blood bank

bank

4 of 5 verb
1
: to have an account in a bank
2
: to deposit or store in a bank
banks $10 every week

bank

5 of 5 noun
: a group or series of objects arranged close together in a row
a bank of seats

Medical Definition

bank

noun
: a place where something is held available
data bank
especially : a depot for the collection and storage of a biological product of human origin for medical use
a sperm bank
an eye bank
see blood bank

Legal Definition

bank

noun
: an organization for the custody, loan, or exchange of money, for the extension of credit, and for facilitating the transmission of funds
branch bank
: a banking facility that is a separate but dependent part of a chartered bank
especially : a facility that performs some banking functions and is separate from a main office
bridge bank
: a national bank that is chartered for a limited time to operate an insolvent bank until it is sold
central bank
: a national bank that establishes monetary and fiscal policy and controls the money supply and interest rate
collecting bank
: a bank other than the payor bank that is handling for collection a negotiable instrument or a promise or order to pay money
commercial bank
: a bank organized chiefly to handle the everyday financial transactions of businesses (as through deposit accounts and commercial loans)
cooperative bank
: an association (as a credit union) owned by and offering banking services for its members
depositary bank
: the first bank to take a negotiable instrument or promise or order to pay money unless the instrument, promise, or order is presented for immediate payment over the counter
federal land bank
: a land bank that is under federal charter and regulated by the Farm Credit Administration
Federal Reserve bank
: one of 12 central banks set up under the Federal Reserve Act to hold reserves for and extend credit to affiliated banks in their respective districts
intermediary bank
: a bank other than the depositary or payor bank to which a negotiable instrument or promise or order to pay is transferred in the course of collection
land bank
: a bank that provides financing for land development and farm mortgages especially by issuing stock see also federal land bank in this entry
: a trust that holds land for purposes of preservation or conservation
national bank
: a bank operating under federal charter and supervision
nonbank bank
: a financial organization (as a branch of an out-of-state bank) that either accepts demand deposits or makes commercial loans
payor bank
: a bank that is the drawee of a draft
presenting bank
: a bank other than a payor bank that presents a negotiable instrument or promise or order to pay money
savings bank
: a bank organized to hold depositors' funds in interest-bearing accounts and to make long-term investments (as in home mortgage loans)
state bank
: a bank operating under state charter and law
banker noun

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